Ten years of conflict has given rise not only to the world’s best body armor and state-of-the-art battlefield technologies, but also a new understanding about ways to prevent eye injuries and treat those who suffer from them.
When the war in Afghanistan kicked off in 2002, ballistic goggles were hard to come by in the military supply system and combat troops rarely wore them, Army Col. (Dr.) Donald Gagliano, the executive director of the Vision Center of Excellence, told American Forces Press Service.
As improvised explosive devices became the enemy’s weapons of choice, eye injuries soared, affecting as many as 29 percent of all battlefield casualties, Gagliano estimated. So as the military began introducing improved body and head protection, ensuring troops had and wore ballistic glasses also became a top priority.
Eye injuries initially dropped, Gagliano reported, but as IEDs and high-energy blast waves become increasingly powerful, eye injuries continued to take their toll. So as part of its charter, the Department of Defense and Department of Veterans Affairs Vision Center of Excellence is focusing on ways to prevent injuries and improve the care and rehabilitation for wounded warriors. (more…)